Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has advocated the introduction of beneficial associations between Premier League and lower-league clubs for loan purposes or even a draft system, describing Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke's current situation as "ludicrous".
Despite having yet to start a top-flight match during his short career to date, Under-20 World Cup Golden Ball winner Solanke, who left Chelsea for Anfield over the summer, joined Manchester City goalkeeper Angus Gunn and Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook in being promoted from England's Under-21 squad earlier this month and earned his senior debut under Gareth Southgate as a late substitute in a goalless friendly draw against Brazil at Wembley Stadium.
The Three Lions' superb success at youth level in 2017 has led to renewed debate over the lack of opportunities afforded to young players at the highest level and Bruce evidently believes that change is required.
"We need the larger clubs to have associations with the smaller ones," he was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo. "Feeder clubs? Yes. The general consensus is that the Under-23s isn't quite working.
"If you play when you are 18 and you are successful, you need the next step. At the moment, we've got the ludicrous situation of Solanke playing for England when he's hardly had a game with Liverpool. That can't be right."
He added: "We have young players all over the country doing well – but not playing. Surely any young, talented player would prefer turning out for the likes of Forest Green Rovers, Bury, Oldham Athletic – you're better playing there for three months and learning your trade than in the Under-23s. I think something like a draft system could work. Loans definitely benefit parent clubs."
Solanke's only competitive start for Liverpool to date came in the Carabao Cup third-round defeat to Leicester City in September, although he has made eight cameo appearances in the league and Champions League. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp reacted to the player's senior international call-up by praising his "absolutely outstanding" character but stopped short of suggesting that an uptick in first-team chances was on the horizon.
Bruce can certainly be said to be doing his bit in terms of handing opportunities to young English players, meanwhile. Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Josh Onomah are both currently thriving on loan at in-form Villa, while 19-year-old forward Keinan Davis has now emerged as a real asset for the Championship promotion challengers.
The idea of strategic loan partnerships - in addition to the introduction of a fifth tier comprised of Premier League B teams - was previously floated by former Football Association (FA) chairman Greg Dyke before being rejected by Football League clubs.
Last September, the 72 EFL clubs also ruled out the idea of B teams or non-English clubs being included in a proposed "Whole Game Solution" revamp of the league structure.